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Santana v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 30, 2014

JOSE M. SANTANA, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

APPEAL FROM THE ELKHART SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Thomas Murto, Magistrate. Cause No. 20D04-1112-FC-34.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: PETER D. TODD, Elkhart, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; J.T. WHITEHEAD, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

MAY, Judge. VAIDIK, C.J., and RILEY, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 77

MAY, Judge.

Jose M. Santana appeals his conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life.[1] As the police had reasonable suspicion to stop Santana, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On December 4, 2011, Goshen police officer Todd Burks saw a pick-up truck Santana was driving in Goshen, Indiana. He ran the license plate information for the truck, but he omitted one digit from the plate number and the result came back " Not on File." [2] (Tr. at 6.) Officer Burks followed the truck and saw it turn 100 to 150 feet after the turn signal was activated. Ind. Code § 9-21-8-25 requires: " A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during not less than the last two hundred (200) feet traveled by a vehicle before turning or changing lanes."

Officer Burks pulled the truck over and asked Santana for his license. Santana said he did not have a license, and Officer Burks asked if he had any kind of identification. Santana produced a Mexican voter registration card with his photograph. Officer Burks asked for the registration of the truck. He entered the number properly and discovered the registration was valid. However, Officer Burks arrested Santana after he determined Santana had been adjudicated an Habitual Traffic Offender such that his driving privileges were forfeited for life.

The State charged Santana with Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges were forfeited for life. Santana filed a Motion to Suppress, arguing Officer Burks did not have a valid basis for stopping his truck. The trial court denied the motion and, during the trial, Santana lodged a continuing objection to the validity

Page 78

of the stop. After a bench trial, Santana was ...


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